Multilingual Business Communication

June 9, 2009

Company reputation and social media

Filed under: Ankie Dees, crisis communication — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 9:08 pm

According to Deloitte’s 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey, 74% of workers believe it is easy to damage a brand’s reputation via social networking sites. This result emphasizes an important part of issue and crisis management: corporate culture and employee satisfaction. As social media are getting more and more mainstream, the influence of employees on public opinion is increasing.

“With the explosive growth of online social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly blurring the lines between professional and private lives, these virtual communities have increased the potential of reputational risk for many organizations and their brands,” said Sharon Allen, chairman of the board of Deloitte LLP. “While the decision to post videos, pictures, thoughts, experiences and observations is personal, a single act can create far reaching ethical consequences for individuals as well as employers. Therefore, it is important for executives to be mindful of the implications of this connected world and to elevate the discussion about the risks associated with it to the highest levels of leadership.”

Only17 percent of executives surveyed say they have programs in place to monitor and neutralize the possible reputational risks that may appear through social networks. Additionally, while less than a quarter have formal policies on the medium’s use among their people, 49 % of employees indicate that corporate guidelines will not change their behaviour online.

“One-third of employees surveyed never consider what their boss or customers might think before posting material online,” Allen continued. “This fact alone reinforces how vulnerable brands are as a result of the increased use of social networks. As business leaders, it is critical that we continue to foster solid values-based cultures that encourage employees to behave ethically regardless of the venue.”

These values-based corporate cultures should incorporate more employee feedback and participation. When people are able to talk about work-related issues on the work floor itself, they won’t feel the need to turn to third parties. Then,  if a crisis does hit the fan, your employees will be your best allies.

Source: http://www.csrwire.com/press/press_release/26972-Deloitte-s-2009-Ethics-Workplace-Survey-Examines-the-Reputation-Risk-Implications-of-Social-Networks

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